William Heath Robinson’s illustrated edition of Charles Perrault’s fairy tales, published in 1921, is a more substantial collection than the Dulac edition with eleven stories in all. The translator was AE Johnson who notes that three of the tales—Beauty and the Beast, The Friendly Frog, and Princess Rosette—aren’t from Perrault at all, but Beauty and the Beast by this time was part of the general canon.
Robinson’s illustrations in this particular volume are badly damaged in places but they maintain his high standard in their characterisation and use of space. A couple of the pieces are rather alarming in a book for small children: the giant crushing a village while pursuing the fleeing captives in Little Tom Thumb, and Blue Beard (again) threatening his wife with a cutlass. The imperious Puss-in-Boots is particularly good. Browse the rest of the book here or download it here.
Continue reading “William Heath Robinson’s Old-Time Stories”
Edmund Dulac’s illustrated edition of Charles Perrault’s fairy tales was published in 1910, and like John Austen’s version this is another one I hadn’t seen before. The adaptation by Arthur Quiller-Couch drops many of the less familiar stories such as Riquet of the Tuft and The Ridiculous Wishes to leave only Sleeping Beauty, Blue Beard, Cinderella, and Beauty and the Beast. A century later, three of those stories are now overly familiar thanks to Disney and co. while the wife-murdering antics of Blue Beard render him irredeemable for children’s entertainment.
The most notable thing about Dulac’s typically excellent illustrations is the degree to which he pushes the style and decor to his beloved Middle East. There’s no reason why many of these stories shouldn’t be situated outside Europe when some of them have very distant Middle Eastern origins but this is unusual for Perrault where the tendency is to use settings based on the Europe of the author’s own time. Browse the rest of the book here or download it here.
Continue reading “Edmund Dulac’s Sleeping Beauty and Other Fairy Tales”
After posting John Austen’s Perrault illustrations I intended to follow-up with other versions but work has been non-stop lately so it’s taken most of this month to do so. Harry Clarke’s edition of Perrault was published in 1922, and while it’s not exactly unfamiliar its one of his illustrated editions that gets overshadowed by the grotesque masterpieces of Faust and Edgar Allan Poe. This is Clarke employing his most delicate Beardsley-like style, the only hint of anything unwholesome being the animated black pudding that fixes itself to a woman’s nose in The Ridiculous Wishes. Bluebeard, by contrast, seems a delightful fellow despite his unfortunate wife-killing propensities.
I’ve only included the colour plates here but the copy at the Internet Archive contains many full-page black-and-white drawings along with vignettes. The plate showing Cinderella and the Prince has been stolen from their edition so I’ve added a scan from my own copy of the book.
Continue reading “Harry Clarke’s Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault”
The retellings of old folk tales by Charles Perrault (1628–1703) became the earliest examples of what we now call fairy tales, but Perrault’s versions of Little Red Riding Hood, Puss in Boots, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella et al have tended to be overshadowed by the more copious works of the Brothers Grimm and their followers. Perrault has attracted illustrators, however, including major figures such as Gustave Doré and Harry Clarke. This edition by John Austen is one of the artist’s earliest books dating from 1922. Perrault collections are often short; this one is only 74 pages but Austen fills the book with many small illustrations and vignettes. It’s a surprise seeing his work in colour when the more familiar drawings are all striking black-and-white. Spot colours help highlight Little Red Riding Hood’s outfit and Bluebeard’s beard. See the rest of the book here or download it here. (Thanks again to Nick for the tip!)
Continue reading “John Austen’s Tales of Passed Times”
The Charles Perrault fairy tale given an Arts and Crafts interpretation by British artist Joseph Southall (1861–1944). This is a slim volume from 1895 with illustrations very much in the manner of Walter Crane’s work for William Morris. As with all such stories from the Victorian era, the grim nature of the tale is buried under a profusion of ornament and painstaking detail. Browse the rest of the book here or download it here.
Continue reading “Joseph Southall’s Bluebeard”